I’m seeing RED this week. Not just in my head, but on the screen. It’s Slasher Week in the Dawson-Holly household. Like, no holding back, slice and dice kind of red.
Editing is messy work. It’s downright bloody. It’s the kind of disaster big enough that no excessive amounts of drop-cloths can keep the arterial sprays from hitting the walls. It sucks, but someone has to do the first round.
Recently I went through the last bits of two WIP’s and cut, highlighted, replaced, reworded, gutted and overhauled until I literally saw RED in my mind. The bratty little untrained editor inside my head is running around in circles with a chewed pen in one hand and a knife in the other – and she means business.
Even if someone hires an editor, like I do, you still must edit your own work. But, how is it that you can go from this:
To your inner editor coming back with this:
Sigh. I try. Really, I do. But I’m not a professional editor – I’m a writer. The creativity comes out in spurts when the Muse is well-fed which means sometimes I sit and stare at the same paragraph for hours, trying to remember if ‘the’ is spelled correctly or not, and other times I breeze through an entire chapter without stopping to breathe. Then I let that little brat of a wannabe editor have at it. And, well…
After my Muse’s alter-ego has her way with my WIP, I’m drained. Often times I let it get to me – the painful process of doing the first round of editing. It’s an experience that can turn most writers inside out, especially when we know the difference between ‘too’ and ‘to’ but keep finding both in the wrong places.
Yet, once the first go around of editing is complete, I find, surprisingly enough, that I have survived, as has my Muse and that little girl inside that likes to eat the ends of her red pens. She just wants to give me a big hug and tell me how much she cares about the artistic side of my brain. Sometimes she even goes so far as to tell me how she REALLY feels…
So we hug it out. I forgive her for making me feel like a failure but I’ll always keep an eye on the knife she has tucked in the waistband of her jeans. I’m incredibly aware that she could pull that blade out at ANY time and stab my WIP till it bleeds to death. I told you, she’s a brat. I suppose I need her though. If it was just me and my Muse, we’d be in big trouble. Because the worse thing my pen chewing and knife-wielding self-taught editor could do is leave me. I…I don’t know what I’d do if she told me it was over between us. I would have to invest in more chocolate and new red pens and hope I didn’t ruin our relationship forever.
Don’t tell her I said she was a brat. I don’t think she’d like it. Especially after cleaning up the beginning of my new WIP so nicely. Thanks to her fit this week, now I can go back to feeling a tad bit more fabulous and like I know what I’m doing. I’m a writer. I must write. Right? Watch out, we’re flying our way through this chapter to the next – the Muse, the Inner Editor and I. We are a force to be reckoned with and I guess I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Happy Editing and Reading, Everyone!